This article presents a new interpretation of Richard Simon’s Histoire critique du Vieux Testament (1678). It argues that the initial prohibition of Simon’s work in 1678 has separated it from the debates and arguments that chiefly shaped its contents. It gives an account of the developments in seventeenth-century biblical criticism that preceded Simon’s work before offering a new account of the genesis and composition of the Histoire critique du Vieux Testament. Following this, it presents an examination--based in part on previously unexamined material drawn from Simon’s library--of three of the central and most innovative parts of Simon’s project: his definition of his approach as a ‘critical history’, his new history of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and his novel use of manuscript material. The study concludes with a reconsideration of Simon’s work immediately following the Histoire critique du Vieux Testament’s prohibition, arguing that in a series of Latin works Simon attempted to use the methods and shared assumptions of seventeenth-century biblical criticism to justify his work to his contemporary scholars.
Body, Surroundings and Borders in Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Edited by Patricia A. Baker, Han Nijdam and Karine van 't Land
Contributors are Helen King, Michael McVaugh, Maithe Hulskamp, Glenda McDonald, Roberto Lo Presti, Fabiola van Dam, Catrien Santing, Ralph Rosen, and Irina Metzler.